When Entrepreneurs Have Awful Startup Ideas

How to avoid shopping a losing proposition

Joe Procopio
3 min readJan 28, 2021


image by pch.vector

Just how good is your startup idea? It’s probably either better or worse than you think. But here’s the thing. The vast majority of startup ideas sound awful when communicated early and without the context of execution in the real world.

So how do you know you’ve got a viable idea before you spend a bunch of time and money chasing a mirage?

The best answer I’ve found is not to ask a bunch of random people for feedback, but to listen and learn as other entrepreneurs execute on their own ideas.

Shouldn’t you just go out and try and fail?

Yeah. Have fun with that. Failure sucks. I don’t like it and I try hard to avoid it.

I recently answered an entrepreneur’s question about taking his idea to a startup coach. Sure, I said. Go for it. Just do your due diligence and make sure you’re working with someone legit.

But in all honesty — that coach is probably going to spend a lot of your time listening to your idea only to come to the conclusion that you’ll need to prototype your idea into an MVP and take it to market to validate it.

As for the execution — how you’re going to build, launch, and sell the thing — that’s when the coach will likely get real vague but really positive. He or she will be your best cheerleader, and you don’t need that. You certainly don’t need to pay for it.

An entrepreneur’s most valuable resource is not money, not connections, it’s time. If you can maximize your time spent developing and executing a well-thought-out plan and growth path, you can greatly reduce your risk of failure. Or at least you can increase your odds of recovering from a number of mini-failures.

Don’t ask me or anybody else about your idea

We all want to talk about our ideas. I love talking about my ideas. And we all need validation. But here are a couple good reasons why shopping your startup idea for validation is a waste of your most valuable resource.

  1. Ideas are a dime a dozen. If people actually knew which ideas would be successful and which wouldn’t…



Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building TeachingStartup.com & GROWERS. Write at Inc.com and BuiltIn.com. More at joeprocopio.com